This had to be one of the weirdest darn games the Yankees have played in years. Ace performance from Gerrit Cole, getting no-hit through nine innings, breaking up the no-hitter to extend the contest, tying the game later on only the second hit of the game and winning it on the third ... you can’t write this stuff.
Sitting at 195 strikeouts entering the first inning, Cole quickly got himself closer to the 200 K milestone. After a leadoff flyball to left field, the ace whiffed both William Contreras and Carlos Santana, leaving him three strikeouts from a pretty major milestone in his excellent 2023 campaign.
The second was a much more arduous journey for the same scoreless result. The Brewers, who seem to never give an at-bat away, put together back-to-back hits with two out to put a pair of runners on. Ultimately, Cole induced a ground ball to Gleyber Torres to escape the frame, but he expended a ton of energy to get out of the jam.
Cole got himself closer to 200 Ks in the third. Tyrone Taylor hacked impotently at a 2-2 slider off the plate for Cole’s 198th strikeout of the season. Two quick ground outs later and he was back in the dugout. Importantly, he only tossed nine pitches in the frame, getting his pitch count under control.
Meanwhile, the 2023 Yankee offense was on brand the first time through the lineup against former National League Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. Nine up. Nine down. Four whiffs. For a club that managed four total runs in the first two games of this series, not exactly an encouraging start.
Facing Santana for the second time to lead off the fourth, Cole again whiffed the Brewers first baseman. 199 strikeouts. One away from 200. Next, Everson Pereira got a chance to make the highlight reel, with a spectacular catch in left field, robbing Mark Canha.
WHAT A PLAY MADE BY EVERSON PEREIRA pic.twitter.com/bdqdYnSDcU— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) September 10, 2023
Andruw Monasterio got the honors of being Cole’s 200th strikeout of the season leading off the fifth. In a 2023 campaign that’s been a giant disappointment, Cole’s performance and pursuit of his first Cy Young Award is one of the few bright spots.
Bryce Turang managed a double, the first extra-base hit of the day, but Cole again got out of the frame without giving up a run.
The Yankees finally managed their first base runner in the bottom of the fifth inning when Giancarlo Stanton worked a walk. It’s always nice knowing you won’t be on the wrong end of a perfect game. Isiah Kiner-Falefa replaced him on the bases after a fielder’s choice and promptly stole second, giving the Yanks their first man in scoring position. Alas, that is where he stayed as New York again failed to get a base hit, let alone score.
Cole was back on the bump in the sixth inning, continuing his fine outing. Two more strike outs in a one-two-three frame gave his offense yet another chance to break the scoreless tie. With 91 pitches through six, however, Cole’s afternoon was beginning to approach its end.
Cole was back on the mound for the seventh, though, and threw another spectacular frame. Two more strikeouts, another zero in the run column. His line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Brilliant outing from the ace on a day when the Yankees desperately needed it.
The offense still could not touch Burnes, though in different ways Stanton and IKF both almost reached on base hits in the seventh. The former hit a laser to right field that ended as a harmless out and the latter hit a weak infield ground ball that couldn’t quite get past Burnes. But at the end of the seventh, New York still had a goose egg in the hit column.
Wandy Peralta relieved Cole in the eighth. Despite giving up a walk, he did the job and sent this to the bottom of the frame still tied. Burnes came back out (obviously) for the bottom of the inning and retired the Yankees in order. At this point, the only question was whether Milwaukee would let him try for the solo no-hitter. Through eight, he’d tossed 109 pitches.
With the score still knotted at zero, Clay Holmes came in for the ninth. Like Wandy, he retired Milwaukee in order, giving New York the chance to walk it off before anyone had to endure Manfred-ball.
And Burnes did not get the chance to come out for the ninth. The score doubtlessly played into the decision, considering that even if he’d pitched another hitless inning, this game would got to a 10th inning. Devin Williams, however, had no issue keeping the no-hitter alive, punctuating his frame by whiffing Judge.
Aaron Boone turned to Tommy Kahnle for the 10th. After walking the leadoff man to put runners on first and second, Kahnle induced a ground ball to third for the 5-4-3 double play that helped him keep the Brewers off the scoreboard. The Yankees had a chance, with the ghost-runner, to win a game despite being no-hit.
Abner Uribe came in for Milwaukee. After striking out Gleyber Torres, he walked Stanton, putting two on with one out. IKF went down looking, an infuriating trend on the day for Yankee bats. And then Anthony Volpe launched one to right field that looked like it could break up the no-hitter and win the game. I have nothing else to say so just watch the video.
GAME-SAVING!— MLB (@MLB) September 10, 2023
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE CATCH. pic.twitter.com/0fVg68NKIJ
The Brewers finally managed another hit, their first since Cole was still on the hill, in the 11th. With a runner on third and one out, Tyrone Taylor singed off Nick Ramirez. 1-0 Brewers. Ramirez escaped without any more damage, but the Brewers were three outs from no-hitting the Yankees for 11 innings. It beggars belief.
But after Volpe advanced to third on a ground ball to the left side of the infield, Oswaldo Cabrera ended our long national nightmare with an RBI double into the right field corner off Brewers’ reliever Joel Payamps. With two out, DJ LeMahieu walked, leading Milwaukee to intentionally walk Judge, loading the bases for Torres. Torres hit a ground ball up the middle that just didn’t have the exit velo to get through. Off to the 12th inning. Unbelievable.
Ramirez came back out for the 12th and immediately surrendered a double, giving the Brewers the lead back. A sacrifice fly later in the frame added a third Milwaukee run to the board.
New York’s second hit of the game undid all the Brewers’ work earlier in the frame. Stanton unloaded to deep center with Torres standing on second, knotting the game at three.
After a scoreless top half of the 13th, Kyle Higashioka, who started this contest on the bench, finally ended it. An RBI single into left scored the ghost runner, giving the Yankees their third hit of the game, fourth run of the contest, and first win of the series.
The Yankees are back at it tomorrow night in Boston. First pitch is 7:10 pm Eastern. Clarke Schmidt faces Kutter Crawford as the Yanks have a chance to leapfrog Boston in the AL East standings.